Comments due on ballot | AspenTimes.com

Comments due on ballot

Naomi Havlen

Election season may seem far away, but voters have just this week to submit any written comments about financial issues appearing on the Nov. 1 ballot.The deadline for submitting comments is the end of the business day Friday. Colorado election law allows the comments, which can be either for or against a proposed ballot issue; the comments will be summarized and mailed to all registered voters before the election.Any written remarks must be received, not postmarked, by Friday’s deadline. Citizens should indicate which ballot questions they are commenting on, and whether their comment is in favor or against the question. Only registered voters eligible to vote on the question can submit comments, and the input must include a signature and the address where the signer is registered to vote.Pitkin County Clerk Silvia Davis said in her experience, primarily people who are in favor of an issue submit comments to be published.”If someone has good information on an issue, they can submit information that is truthful regarding it,” Davis said. “It’s generally comments from people who are close to an issue and can offer more information on it.”Friday the Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder’s Office released a list of all financial ballot issues this fall, with a reminder that the deadline for comments is coming up soon. The list includes increasing taxes for marketing dollars in Snowmass Village, more teachers at the Aspen School District, operating expenses at Aspen Valley Hospital and for the Aspen Historical Society.In the city of Aspen, issue 2B would authorize the city to retain excess property taxes from 2005 through 2009 to spend on alternative fuel buses, improving the quality of storm-water runoff entering the Roaring Fork River, constructing a new outdoor swimming pool and improving the city’s sidewalk and trail system.Snowmass Village is asking its constituents three ballot issues: whether to increase taxes by about $1.36 million in 2006 and annually thereafter by imposing a lodging tax of 2.4 percent or less for less than 30 consecutive days; whether to increase debt $8,545,000 and increase taxes $803,535 annually for a town hall; and whether to increase debt $3,155,000 and increase taxes $298,123 annually for a town recreation center.The Aspen School District is asking its voters to increase taxes $700,000 annually in order to attract and retain teachers and staff, provide quality education and enhance program offerings. The ballot also includes money for expanding the middle and elementary schools’ classrooms, upgrading district technology, and for a playground area by increasing taxes up to $2,892,188 annually.Aspen Valley Hospital will ask voters to approve a tax increase of up to $2,790,353 by extending an existing property tax an additional five years. The money will be used for operating and capital expenses.The historical society is asking local voters to approve creating an Aspen Historic Park and Recreation District, which would follow the same boundaries as the Aspen School District. If approved, voters will be asked to increase taxes $575,000 annually to benefit operating expenses.Finally, the Twining Flats Road General Improvement District will ask its residents to increase taxes $6,000 annually to pay for its operations, and to increase taxes $9,500 annually for installing and paving Twining Flats Road.Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com